Promoting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women in metropolitan and regional Australia

Found in: Resources on violence against women and girls

Promoting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women in metropolitan and regional Australia

This state of knowledge paper outlines findings from research commissioned by the Australian National Research Organisation of Women’s Safety (ANROWS); to contribute to the currently limited evidence base on violence against refugee and immigrant women. A broad range of national and international research is examined to present the current knowledge. The project, known as ASPIRE (Analysing Safety and Place in Immigrant and Refugee Experience), was conducted in eight sites across urban and regional settings in Victoria and Tasmania.

The overall aim of the ASPIRE project was to increase understanding of the nature and dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women in different Australian contexts and the particular barriers immigrant and refugee women in Australia face accessing family and domestic violence services.

The paper finds:

  • Overall immigrant and refugee report similar forms of family violence as women from non-immigrant backgrounds, however there are some differences in the types of violence experienced and the structural contexts where it takes place.
  • The constraints produced by immigration policies are of significant concern, where women depend on perpetrators for economic security and residency rights.
  • Many immigrant and refugee women are motivated to resolve family violence without ending relationships and breaking up families, for reasons including immigration concerns and family and community pressures.
  • There is scant evidence that the increase in criminal justice responses to family violence, such as “mandatory arrest” and “pro-prosecution” approaches, are helpful for immigrant women, and may deter them from seeking assistance in crisis situations.

The paper also identifies key gaps in literature on this issue, particularly in connection to the ways immigration policies, structural disadvantage and location interact with immigrant and refugee women’s experiences of family violence. Find the paper here.